SCHOOL is out forever for two Greenock friends who clocked up almost 40 years between them in the classroom.

Janice Burns and Linda Clarke have retired after 10 wonderful years as classroom assistants at St Andrew's Primary in Greenock.

They got a wonderful send off from headteacher Alan Connick, pupils and staff with a sing-song in the playground and were overwhelmed with gifts and flowers.

Janice, 61, whose latest job title was pupil support assistant, previously worked at St Gabriel's Primary before it amalgamated with Sacred Heart Primary.

She said: "It's been fantastic - St Andrew's has been like a second home.

"I've enjoyed working with the children, laughing and crying with them.

"The pandemic has been very difficult and we had to learn to adapt to that - you never know what is round the corner.

"I will miss all the school plays and shows, the staff and the kids."

Janice, who worked in education for 21 years, says she still meets former pupils she taught a decade ago.

She said: "There are still people who remember you.

"I recently met a former pupil who is 20 now, and he remembered me from when he was a 10 year-old.

"He just said 'you were the best' - that was lovely.

"It has been very rewarding supporting the children - helping them be the best they can be, giving one-to-one support and helping the class teacher.

"It's given me great satisfaction to feel that I've played a little part in their journey.

Janice sadly lost her husband Kenny 11 years ago and has three grown-up daughters - Stephanie, Kelly and Rachel - and an 11-month grandson Jack.

She also has a string of hobbies to keep her busy - she was a former horse rider and is a member of Gourock Ladies Curling Club, is learning to sail and enjoys northern soul music.

She said: "I'm hoping to spend more time with my grandson and in my garden.

"I'd love to go on holiday, once the restrictions ease."

Linda, 63, who also worked at St Gabriel's, told the Tele she had enjoyed her 19-year career in education.

She said: "I have loved every minute of my job as a classroom assistant, working with teachers and pupils.

"I did catch up with numeracy, which was a great initiative.

"It has been great working with the children, it's a very varied job.

"I've enjoyed the admin side too, every day was different."

She says that is very apt that she ended her career at St Andrew's - after attending the 'old' St Andrew's Primary School as a pupil.

Linda said: "I've come full circle - it's a nice way to finish my career.

"It was meant to be.

"I will miss the children and the staff, it's been wonderful working hard but having fun as well - it's going to be a huge miss."

Linda is married to Tony and they have three grown up children Fiona, David and Laura.

She said: "My husband works away from home, so I am looking forward to spending more time with him when he is home and going to the theatre and out walking."